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View Full Version : What's the cheapest upgrade I can do on my 540i?


BMW540i
01-13-2004, 07:17 PM
Is Dinan the best there is? I want to increase the speed of my car by installing cool air intake and exhaust but Dinan is so expensive, I've already got the Dinan chip and software for my 2003 540i (automatic with steptronic). TIA

Jon@Bimmersport
01-13-2004, 07:24 PM
AA makes better stuff for sure...Dinan, buy it for the name and warranty, buy AA if you want power. but why bother with all that? save for an S/C like Jimmy540 hitting 12s with his auto 540i

mkgino
01-13-2004, 07:26 PM
Get a differential if you want relatively inexpensive acceleration

328is_Perf
01-13-2004, 09:32 PM
Thin Shoes. .... squeeze 100% outta your car efficiently

proven for 40 hp

Gianpaolo_E46
01-13-2004, 09:43 PM
for now go with Dinan parts, since ur car is an 03, Dinan will match BMW's warrenty, which is good for an aftermarket tuner. Dinan also makes a superchrager for the 540i, look into that...

Quack
01-13-2004, 10:54 PM
Originally posted by mkgino
Get a differential if you want relatively inexpensive acceleration

inexpensive?, are you kidding, the diff I want from Dinan is $12,000, you telling me that's inexpensive,
anyways ESS supercharger is cheaper and is just as good as Dinan's S/C, and more HP than Dinan as well, ESS for me *th-up*

PM for more info on modding 540

mkgino
01-13-2004, 11:48 PM
Originally posted by Quack
inexpensive?, are you kidding, the diff I want from Dinan is $12,000, you telling me that's inexpensive,
anyways ESS supercharger is cheaper and is just as good as Dinan's S/C, and more HP than Dinan as well, ESS for me *th-up*

PM for more info on modding 540 Why does it have to be Dinan? I thought Greco has a diff upgrade, possibly from another BMW?

Quack
01-13-2004, 11:56 PM
yeah you can take the M5 diff from the wreckers if you can find one, but if you had to buy one from the dealer it would be around $5000 - $6000, either way that's too much $$$, for $10,000 I can get the ESS S/C package which comes with almost everything I need for performance mods

bmwm5lover
01-14-2004, 12:20 AM
Cheap and BMW and especially 5er dont go together

///Greco540
01-14-2004, 01:20 AM
You can get a quaiffe unit installed into your stock 2.81 or get a 3.15 unit with quaiffe for roughly $2500US. The 3.15 unit is actually the best bang for the buck. You can go 3.46 but I think that's a little too much for the 540. You want to retain driveability as you are not building a 1/4 mile car. Also with the automatics going to a 3.15 actually anything other than the factory 2.81 might cause havoc with the cruise control.

But you said you have an 03 automatic. Is it the sport package? Sport package 03's have the peg leg 3.15, so getting a quaiffe to increase traction, or going to a 3.46 might be a good idea.

I say quaiffe because I prefer the ATB over LSD myself.

Yes ESS offers a more cost effective alternative to Dinan for s/c but dinan also provides you with a 5 year warranty. I personally do not like most of Dinan's products mainly becuase of the pricing, especially their software. Their software is mild when it comes to uning standards. I prefer the qutothority software or the powerchip software. Both are very aggressive.

Careful on the CAI that you choose. Some have alot of heat soak while others are very prone to water ingestion. Do your research.

I can go on and on about mods. Tell me what you are looking for?

For diffs go to Koala Motorsports.

BiBimBap
01-14-2004, 02:14 AM
Cheapest upgrade is one of those thin tree shaped air fresheners.. goes for $1.99 for a pack of three...

I still can't believe you have a 540 and you're looking for the cheapest upgrade... might as well sell the 540 - buy a 99 M3 and turbo the sucker.. that'll get you going fast AND you'll have some money left over!

Jammasterj
01-14-2004, 05:23 AM
Originally posted by BiBimBap
Cheapest upgrade is one of those thin tree shaped air fresheners.. goes for $1.99 for a pack of three...

I still can't believe you have a 540 and you're looking for the cheapest upgrade... might as well sell the 540 - buy a 99 M3 and turbo the sucker.. that'll get you going fast AND you'll have some money left over!
LOL Good Post BiBimBap

Couldn't have said it better myself...the tree will make the car smell fresh and add about 20-30hp at the wheels

Gamite
01-14-2004, 05:41 AM
Um, his car is automatic, the diff would have a higher ratio than any manual car, so where would he get the diff?

///Greco540
01-14-2004, 02:01 PM
Do my ramblings mean nothing to you?

For the diff go to Koala Motorsport http://www.koalamotorsport.com

BMW540i
01-14-2004, 05:09 PM
thanks for all the reply. I think by looking at the websites..it said something about the supercharger stage 2 can only be done on manual cars....can they not do it on steptronic automatic? I just want something cheap for right now....you know...intake or/and exhaust for now....cuz I don't have 12k to blow just yet for the supercharger. Who makes some great intake/exhaust that will boost power. My car is 2003 sports package btw.

jmalixi
01-14-2004, 05:09 PM
What's your budget? Benfer sells intakes similar to Dinan's at a much lower price.

BMW540i
01-14-2004, 05:11 PM
Benfer is BFP right? They have the "Like Dinan" intake for $$224 on ebay? Are those reliabe and as good? Will it take in water? I've been looking at those...and the Borley and Supersprint exhausts on ebay....

SickFinga
01-14-2004, 05:40 PM
Where are you located?

BMW540i
01-14-2004, 05:45 PM
Oklahoma City, USA (just north of Texas)

///Greco540
01-14-2004, 07:39 PM
What are you looking for in an exhaust, loudness, or performance? Quality or $200? Take a look at www.eisnehaus.com for some exhausts.

If you are scared about water ingestion you can get a Dinan water sock to cover the filter with, or you can go GruppeM intake for that stealth carbon fibre look with no chance of water ingestion.

crazyvadim
01-14-2004, 09:37 PM
I think you should be worried about voiding your warranty.

BMW540i
01-14-2004, 09:41 PM
I"m looking for performance but not at Dinan's cost. For intake I don't want something that could suck in water. Please help me out...by the way, that link eisnehaus.com don't work.

///Greco540
01-15-2004, 01:55 PM
Sorry about the link.. www.eisenhaus.com

jmalixi
01-15-2004, 08:47 PM
Originally posted by BMW540i
Benfer is BFP right? They have the "Like Dinan" intake for $$224 on ebay? Are those reliabe and as good? Will it take in water? I've been looking at those...and the Borley and Supersprint exhausts on ebay....

Yes, Benfer = BFP. Their site is benferperformance.com and since it's like Dinan, the filter is at bumper level. So if you drive through deep through deep puddles then this is no good for you.

Check out ECIS and Conforti intakes. It's short ram design with a heat shield. There's always a big discussion as to which is better. I personally like the short ram with heat shield design mainly for ease of install and maintenance. I'm thinking of creating my own from various parts: short pipe, K&N filter, and heat shield (unless I find a used heat shield).

Good luck.

theblue
01-15-2004, 10:07 PM
correct me if I'm wrong.. but from all my research the 540i aftermarket intakes make almost NO power at all and the same for the exhaust... to buy either would be throwing your money away unless you only want to "sound" faster.

BMW540i
01-15-2004, 10:29 PM
You may be right "theblue". I think supercharger is the only way to go to make it worth it. A local mechanic said he could install a supercharger on my 540 for 7 grand...he orders the S/C from somewhere in Europe...but of course that will void my warrantee. sigh...

Quack
01-15-2004, 11:34 PM
like I said before S/C from ESS - European Supercharging System is in europe and cost $6500us, that is probally what he was talking about, I'm getting the same S/C but I'm installing it myself.

BMW540i
01-16-2004, 03:03 PM
it said after the ESS...automatic goes 5 sec...and man 4.7sec....but where does steptronic fall in? Will it work with my Dinan chip? Will I need special exhaust/intake in ADDITION to the S/C?

Quack
01-16-2004, 05:34 PM
the ESS S/C system comes with a intake, fuel injectors, new chip, all you will need is an exhaust system and intercooler, there is also a SMG conversion for your tranny for $1000us I think, maybe you should look into that as well

Fern
01-16-2004, 07:48 PM
My opinion is "drop-in K&N filter"
and CDV mod.

I'm surprised that Greco540 did not recommend the CDV delete.

That is my next mod.
Clutch Delay Valve delete will not increase your 0-60 but will give your car better clutch feel by far, no comparison.

If you have ever driven an e39 M5 you will know what I'm talking about.

Now! If your e39 540i is automatic, then your SOL for the CDV mod.

Cheers,

//Fern*wiggle*

BMW540i
01-16-2004, 09:34 PM
DOH! how come manuals get all the fun???

Quack
01-26-2004, 11:10 PM
because they do, they just do

familysedan
01-28-2004, 06:31 AM
Quack,
just a friendly reminder....my friend got his supercharger from ESS, but his computer wouldn't return for a month or so. He was very mad. ESS does work, but works well? I can't really say.

Quack
01-28-2004, 05:30 PM
thanks, sometimes they run into problems programming the computer, onen of my friends that use to have a S/C MB C43 didn't get his computer back from europe for 6 months

familysedan
01-28-2004, 10:10 PM
Quack,
correction....the computer of C43 wouldn't return for 2 months...

:D

Fern
02-15-2004, 04:47 PM
Originally posted by BiBimBap
Cheapest upgrade is one of those thin tree shaped air fresheners.. goes for $1.99 for a pack of three...

I still can't believe you have a 540 and you're looking for the cheapest upgrade... might as well sell the 540 - buy a 99 M3 and turbo the sucker.. that'll get you going fast AND you'll have some money left over!

LOL!!!

My take on this is depends how cheap you want to go..

I'm pretty cheap so I'll suggest the following
1- Quad brake light modification (under $5, I did mine)
this is also known as fog to brake light mod
Here is thelink for the pics
http://www.maxbimmer.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=15769&highlight=Fern

2- K&N air filter (slightly modified) I washed my new filter as soon as I got it and oiled it on the incoming air side opposite the MAF sensor only. ($75)
3- removing my resonator and replacing with custom pipe (under $150)- this is my next project
4- Philips VisionPlus H7 bulbs for lb and fogs Approx $15 ea

Prices are Canadian dollars.
There you go, thats as cheap as I could think.

Cheers,

Fernando

Quack
02-15-2004, 04:53 PM
you should just replace the stock resonator with aftermarket one, the stock one has lots of restriction, but if you take it out completely the exhaust is going to sound too loud

Fern
02-15-2004, 04:55 PM
Oh ya! I forgot,

There is another cool mod that you can do for under $7.

I took my garage door opener and wired it into the sunroof power wire and drilled a hole in the plastic panel where the sunroof button connected via a momentary switch (radion shack) -The switch is the always opened type.

BTW, you don't want to know how much the dealer wanted for the Homelink panel.

Mine works great and all you see is this misterious black button on the panel above the rear view mirror.

Cheers,
Don't want to toot my own horn, but by now I probably classify as king of the cheap mods.

Cheers,
Fern

Miguel
02-16-2004, 03:32 AM
Originally posted by Fern
Don't want to toot my own horn, but by now I probably classify as king of the cheap mods.

If being cheap gets you a 99 540i and a Lexus SUV than who gives a rats ass about how cheap you are!!

///Greco540
02-17-2004, 04:54 PM
Originally posted by theblue
correct me if I'm wrong.. but from all my research the 540i aftermarket intakes make almost NO power at all and the same for the exhaust... to buy either would be throwing your money away unless you only want to "sound" faster.

I consider 7whp and 9wtq something, and that's only from a CAI. Freeing up some additional power via an exhaust would also be good, as more air in, more air out is better.

Fern
02-19-2004, 08:20 PM
Greco540 (Bill) would you say the RevHigh CAI is the way to go.

I did some research and he appears to have hit the nail on the head when it comes to filter location and cost control.

Appears he resolved the problem that Dinan has had with the hydrolock from water being sucked into engine from filter location...

What are your thoughts?

Check out this link to this guys install of Revhigh CAI

http://www.cardomain.com/memberpage/289595/4

Thinking of my own version of the RevHigh CAI by cutting the snorket in the front passenger wheel well liner and installing K&N cone filter via the point where original a/f housing was located.

Then, Remus Catback exhaust and highflow resonator and finally software update (type yet to be determined)

/Fern

theblue
02-19-2004, 09:28 PM
Originally posted by ///Greco540
I consider 7whp and 9wtq something, and that's only from a CAI. Freeing up some additional power via an exhaust would also be good, as more air in, more air out is better. I would have to see some dyno charts.. don't be fooled by peak HP numbers... the car is tuned to run with a stock ECU so if you do an intake you may really also want an ECU upgrade.

///Greco540
02-20-2004, 03:47 PM
Oops my mistake, 6 and 9 to the wheels. You can see the increase throughout the entire rpm range. Optimally you would want to run an ECU upgrade with a CAI to get the most out of it, but this still proves that there room for significant improvement.

http://members.roadfly.org/greco540/DSC00021.JPG

///Greco540
02-20-2004, 03:52 PM
Originally posted by Fern
Greco540 (Bill) would you say the RevHigh CAI is the way to go.

I did some research and he appears to have hit the nail on the head when it comes to filter location and cost control.

Appears he resolved the problem that Dinan has had with the hydrolock from water being sucked into engine from filter location...

What are your thoughts?

Check out this link to this guys install of Revhigh CAI

http://www.cardomain.com/memberpage/289595/4

Thinking of my own version of the RevHigh CAI by cutting the snorket in the front passenger wheel well liner and installing K&N cone filter via the point where original a/f housing was located.

Then, Remus Catback exhaust and highflow resonator and finally software update (type yet to be determined)

/Fern

John's stuff is good quality. He even finished his carbon fibre model. John based his design off the Dinan one, as did many other manufacturer's (BFP for example). John's initial design had the filter placement in the same place as Dinan which was prone to water ingestion. Complaints, theories and disbeliefs about CAI prompted John to change his design bringing it up higher than Dinan and claim there was no way for water ingestion with his unit.

I'm partial to the Powerchip software myself.